It’s been quite a long time since I’ve written a blog post about food. That’s not to say that I haven’t been eating out a lot, (as I’m sure those of you who follow me on Instagram would have seen) it’s just that upon my endeavours of #discoveringdifference, none of the restaurants I’d visited jumped out as being anything spectacular. That was until I went to Chick ‘n’ Sours in Haggerston.
I’d heard about this place from someone at work some time last year but never got around to trying it. I then heard about it again a few weeks ago from a different colleague, which prompted me to book a table there and then.
Set on the busy Kingsland Road in East London, the name Chick ‘n’ Sours derives from the fact that they serve a wide range of fried chicken dishes, accompanied by deliciously sour cocktails.
Instead of serving the typical smokey style chicken you would expect from an American fried chicken joint, their dishes are infused with oriental, Korean spices. What also makes them different is the fact that they only serve free-range, herb fed chicken from local farms with organic vegetables from the local farming community.
On first sight, it’s easy to mistake the restaurant for one of those gentrified, hipster bars; neon lights lit the room, retro music was blasting and cocktail glasses were clinking. It was only when I saw the abnormally large fried chicken burgers in front of all the happy guests that I remembered where I was!
The cosy restaurant operates a walk-in only policy on the weekends so we visited on a weekday to ensure that we could book a table. We were greeted by the funniest and most genuine waiter who took us to our table straight away.
After cracking some hilarious jokes and making us feel welcome, he informed us of the specials for the night:
- Charred apple cocktail
- Schezuan pickles
I’m not normally one for sour cocktails as they always tend to be too strong, but this was pink, and featured both apple and watermelon so I was instantly sold. It had just the right amount of fruit to lessen the blow of the exciting sour punch at the end of each sip.
Based on this, my expectations for the rest of the evening were set very high.
If anyone is a fan of Rick and Morty, you’ll understand why I couldn’t turn down anything “schezuan” related! For those of you who don’t know, schezuan cuisine is known for its abundant use of pungent garlic and chilli, and recently rose to prominence after the condiment that was served in McDonald’s to promote the film Mulan in 1998 “schezuan sauce”, was mentioned in the popular cartoon series Rick and Morty.
I’m normally all for food with a bit of a kick, but my tongue was on fire after taking a small bite into these pickles. They were too spicy for me to enjoy unfortunately.
The wings however, were on another level.
I first had the pleasure of experiencing sticky wings at The Blue’s Kitchen in Shoreditch, and have since struggled to find others that even remotely compare. Whilst they are very different in flavour, the sticky disco wings at Chick ‘n’ Sours have been the only contender so far. The reason being because it’s so hard to maintain the crispiness of the skin on wings when they are coated in a thick layer of sauce, but they truly nailed it.
They were unlike any wings I’ve ever tried before – super sweet, and I mean so sweet that it felt like I was eating chocolate at some points, whilst simultaneously having a peppery kick. Weird but wonderful!
When I read the word sandwich on the menu, I was a little disheartened as I was expecting a full-blown burger, so when this beast arrived, I was completely in my element.
I’d seen how big it was when I first entered the restaurant, but it didn’t actually sink in until it was placed in front of me. Serving it with a steak knife was an expert choice as this allowed me to tame the beast one small chunk at a time.
As expected, the so-called sandwich came bursting with a mixture of hot and sweet flavours. The Korean spices oozed through each crunch of the crispy thigh, whilst the moistness of the chilli vinegar and gochujang mayo added the perfect contrast of softness along with the spongey buns.
However, what oddly made this burger unique was the subtle use of coriander. After the wild party that all the different spices I’d consumed had in my mouth, the aftertaste of the fresh coriander balanced everything out. Nice refreshing touch.
I am gutted that I had to accept defeat with the K-Pop sandwich but it was worth every penny! Speaking of pennies, look what the bill came in…
AN EGG! How cool?!
Included inside was our reasonably priced bill, along with our very own Chick ‘n’ Sours stick-on tattoos! It’s the little quirky touches like this that really added to the dining experience and made the restaurant memorable.
One of my favourite touches was the fact that they left a pack of baby wipes on our table when our wings were served! There’s nothing worse than eating something messy like wings or ribs and having to clean yourself up with dry tissues which just shed and stick to your fingers anyway. I think this should be made mandatory at every BBQ joint!
Nevertheless, nothing quite tops the exceptional service we received. Once we got home, my boyfriend realised that he didn’t have his rucksack on him so we called up to see if we had left it there. A few weeks later, they called me to simply check and see if we had found his bag!
So, what are you waiting for? Head down to Chick ‘n’ Sours for your crispy, chinese fried chicken fix now!